I'm sitting under the plastic dome hair dryer at the salon with bleach in my hair waiting for my black roots to turn a buttery blond. The hot air is blowing the chemical fumes into my eyes and making them water. My Mexican hair lady keeps coming back to check on me every few minutes. She pokes at the toothpastey goo on my scalp. She comments that Latino hair is really strong, that "white" hair would be too damaged with that much bleach to grow as long as mine has grown without shattering.
She has black eyebrows and blond hair. She’s always wearing dark brownish lip-liner. She understands me. I don’t see myself ever cheating on her. Having a good relationship with your colorist is so important.
I figured out the importance of this relationship after a really bad “break up” with one of my colorists.
A couple years ago, when I first wanted to go blond, I began by looking for a colorist. My friend recommended her guy. He was her boyfriend’s brother, and her hair always looked great so I decided to give him a shot. I went to his place and he did my hair in the kitchen. Lowbrow, but the results were great. “You’re the most important man in my life” I would tell him, and he knew it. I didn’t think anything of the $200 price tag. He explained to me that since it was the first time, it was going to be more expensive then forthcoming sessions.
Instead, he steadily increased the price until it was almost double the original price. Over $300 a month on roots? Even before the recession, something felt wrong about that. He blamed it on inflation. I found out that it was more of a gambling problem than an isolated case of inflation.
The last straw (or strand?) with my old hair guy came when he asked for $1,000 for the rest of the year. If I gave him everything in my purse, he would let me pay the rest on the next session. I never called him back.
I look forward to my low-pressure salon visits now. My hair lady charges me the same price for that cheap porn star hair I so desire and I give her about a 50 percent tip.
While waiting for my hair to get lighter, she explains to me how to cook Mexican dishes like cactus and Chili Relleno. In Chili Relleno, the eggs must be beaten ’til frothy. Invaluable tidbits at no extra charge. The late spring heat speeds up chemical reactions in my hair and my salon session is over before I expected it to be, leaving me with a few extra hours to kill before work.